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Monday Kickback: Week 18

The San Jose Earthquakes continue to be one of the hottest teams in MLS

MLS: LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Earthquakes continue to tear through their MLS opposition going unbeaten in their last six matches and only losing once since April 20th. It doesn’t matter who Matias Almeyda calls up everyone on the roster is ready to run and play in keeping with a mantra the first year manager has used throughout the season.

Cali Clasico Beatdown

The LA Galaxy came into the latest edition of the Cali Clasico still looking to find consistency on the pitch and were hoping to send a message to the rest of the league that although they haven’t found a nice groove yet, they are still in second place in the West and consider themselves title contenders.

The San Jose Earthquakes sent a message of their own with a 3-0 trouncing of the Galaxy in front of over 50,000 people at Stanford Stadium. If not for a couple of close offsides calls the score could have easily been 5-0 even though LA manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto and trophy king Zlatan Ibrahimovic disagreed and thought both teams played equally at best. Vako continued his fantastic form scoring a goal in the 11th minute and assisting on Shea Salinas’ fifth goal of the season in the 82nd minute. His play was not without recognition as Vako was named the MLS Player of the week who along with Tommy Thompson and Matias Almeyda were the three Quakes honorees on the MLS Team of the Week.

Thompson scored his first goal of the season, and second of his career, in the 82nd minute when his shot careened off Galaxy midfielder Perry Kitchen and into the back of David Bingham’s net. That was enough to make the frenzied crowd go ever more delirious and put the Quakes in fifth place in the West and in the middle of a grueling playoff race.

International Duty

Nick Lima- It has been quite the rollercoaster year for the Quakes defender. After a stellar January camp, some soccer pundits were wondering if it was enough for Lima to earn a starting, or at least a more prominent, role in Gregg Berhalter and US Soccers plans going forward. When Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin had surgery for a groin injury in May, it looked like Lima might be getting more minutes or may even start in the Gold Cup. Those plans changed when Berhalter decided to go with RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams as his starting right back at least for the summer tournament. Lima seemed to be relegated to the bench, and his opportunity at getting a substantial amount of minutes was vanishing. That was until mid-June when it was announced they Tyler Adams had to withdraw from the Gold Cup due to an injury. All of a sudden Lima was Berhalter’s starting right back.

Anibal Godoy- A key midfield player for both Matias Almeyda and the Panamanian National Soccer Team Godoy was taken off the Gold Cup roster after suffering a groin injury in preparation for the tournament. Apparently, Godoy had been suffering from nagging pain for a couple of months before an MRI revealed the damage. The Quakes have said it would be at least six weeks before Godoy was recovered.

Harold Cummings- Cummings started and played all possible minutes in Panama’s four Gold Cup matches before Los Canaleros were knocked out of the tournament by Jamaica in the Quarterfinals. The Quakes will be glad to have his significant defensive presence back on the squad, especially in these two weeks with four games.

Busy Time For the Quakes

The Quakes couldn’t have picked a better time to go on such a run of great play as they are in the middle of a two-week stretch that has them playing four league games. Luckily for the Quakes, three of those four are at home, and they have already earned six points from the first couple of matches. The Quakes are still without Nick Lima who is playing in the Gold Cup and Anibal Godoy who had surgery to repair an abdominal injury. Harold Cummings may be available soon as Panama was knocked out of the Gold Cup on Sunday though the amount of playing time he had to put in and they current great form of the defense might lead to Almeyda keeping him on the bench unless things get out of hand.

Wednesday the Quakes head to Minnesota to try to avenge an early season 3-0 loss at the hands to the Loons then on Saturday the Quakes are back home at Avaya Stadium to take on a Real Salt Lake team that is at the edge of the playoff line but has been struggling to win the last several weeks. Minnesota broke a three-match losing streak on Saturday by torturously trouncing FC Cincinnati 7-1 at Allianz Field and breaking both the goal scoring record and largest margin of victory record at the same time.